Pay TV company buys out Sony, Disney
HBO has taken 100% ownership of HBO Central Europe, buying out subsids of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Disney.“Over the past few years, HBO has moved from a series of minority equity positions to majority ownership of all of its international joint ventures,” said Simon Sutton, prexy of programming distribution and international. Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Studios exited HBO Asia in 2008, leaving ownership to Time Warner (75%) and Viacom (25%). Disney sold its stake in HBO Latin America in 2008. Sony and Disney will continue their output deals with HBO CE. “We believe that HBO Asia, HBO India, HBO Latin America and now HBO Central Europe are strong businesses that are well positioned to take advantage of the expanding marketplace,” Sutton said. Over recent years, HBO CE has rolled out HBO2, HBO Comedy and Cinemax 2. It has also driven into documentary and local drama production. It is now launching national versions in Central Europe of Israeli drama “Be’tipul,” adapted in the U.S. as “In Treatment.” HBO CE is also pushing HD and rolling out its subscription video-on-demand service, HBO Digital. HBO operates in more than 50 countries and reaches 33 million subscribers.